1959 Fiat 1200 TV Spider

For nearly two decades, Fiat’s mid-range 508 and 1100 models served as the staple choice for middle-class Italians. In the mid-1950s, Fiat introduced a Turismo Veloce (fast touring) variant featuring higher compression and a two-barrel carburetor, along with a two-seat cabriolet to complement the sedan.

Dubbed “Trasformabile” (Italian for convertible) by Fiat, the cabriolet, attributed to Fiat’s design director Fabio Luigi Rapi, boasted a seductively curvaceous profile with a forward-leaning stance. Mesh grilles adorned the front, while a wrap-around windshield added to its allure. The understated haunches featured a broad, slightly-diagonal molding.

Trasformabiles were soon equipped with the TV engine, offering enhanced performance. Interior comforts included an adjustable steering wheel and roll-up windows for all-weather usability. The term “spider” became synonymous with two-seat open cars, leading to its association with these early Fiat models, particularly the later Fiat 124 Spider.

In 1958, the TV option transitioned to a larger engine, retaining the “TV” suffix associated with the Spider, now part of the new “1200” designation. The 1958 model maintained the original Rapi-designed body, while later revisions in 1959 introduced cleaner lines, albeit at the cost of some of its original charm.

Photo Source: RM Sotheby’s